Brave soldiers ensure India remains protected: Modi

PM lauds Vajpayee’s role in Kargil war

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, July 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that brave soldiers have ensured that India remains protected and gave befitting reply to all those who tried to vitiate the atmosphere of peace even as he lauded former Prime Minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee for leading from the front and articulating India’s stand at the world stage during Kargil war in 1999. Click here to watch video
“Our brave soldiers ensure that India remains protected and gave a befitting answer to those who tried to vitiate the atmosphere of peace,” Modi said in a couple of tweets on the occasion of `Kargil Vijay Diwas’, which is celebrated every year on July 26 as it was on this day in 1999 that Indian troops had ousted all Pakistani intruders from the hills of Kargil during 60 days long war.
“On Kargil Vijay Diwas, a grateful nation pays homage to all those who served the nation during Operation Vijay,” he said.
Lauding the role of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during Kargil war, the Prime Minister said India will always remember with pride, the outstanding political leadership provided by Atal Ji during Operation Vijay.
“Vajpayee led from the front, supported our armed forces and clearly articulated India’s stand at the world stage,” Modi commented.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at Drass after paying tributes to Kargil war heroes and presiding over series of functions to mark the victory celebrations, Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh declared that the Indian Army is fully capable to meet any kind of challenge along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan and Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
India shares LoC and International Border with Pakistan and LAC with China in Jammu and Kashmir. While the LAC with China generally remains peaceful barring occasion incidents of transgressions by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China, the Army Commander attributed such incidents to the fact that the boundary with China hasn’t been demarcated.
In response to a question, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh described situation in Kashmir as “stable but fragile”.
“The violence parameters which we have seen in 2018 are relatively better as compared to 2017 and earlier years. The stone-pelting activities are relatively less this year as compared to previous year. This showed an understanding and comprehension in the minds of the local youth that it is futile to come out and carry out stone pelting on Government agencies and security forces,” he said, adding the youth need to understand that it is the dividend of peace that needs to be exploited. He expressed confidence that things were moving in that direction.
However, he said, the situation deteriorates for sometime whenever Pakistan pushes in funds, weapons or militants.
“Some incidents do take place which act as triggers to spoil and vitiate the entire security situation. This essentially happens because of the nefarious designs of our adversary across the LoC. Whenever an impetus in terms of weapons, funds or pushing in Pakistan-trained terrorists is done, then obviously the situation deteriorates for some time but overall today the situation is stable. Security forces are in full control and should be able to handle any of the contingency that arises,” the Northern Command chief said.
On incidents of transgression along the LAC by the Chinese Army, he said these happened due to differing perception of the LAC, which hasn’t been demarcated and there was difference of perception of the LAC by both the sides.
“On a large number of occasions, there are reports that the PLA of China has carried out transgressions in various areas along the LAC. But such transgressions have always taken place in areas where we have differing perception of the LAC. We do not have a delineated LAC. Similarly, when we speak to Chinese authorities, they also refer to us having transgressed into their territory on several occasions,” he said but added that all such disputes are resolved by the two sides at well-established working mechanisms, which were in place to resolve issues.
“We have got very well established mechanisms — whether it is hot-lines between the forward posts or flag meetings which we do or Border Personnel meetings. At the higher level we have got a working mechanism for consultation and coordination for border affairs. At the highest level we have special representatives of both the countries who discuss issues related to the resolution of boundary dispute and each of these mechanisms is effective,” Lt Gen Singh said.
He added that the Indian Army has been able to use these mechanisms to our advantage and have been able to resolve all, even very very tricky and touchy issues, with tranquility and have been able to resolve them well to meet the aspirations of the Indian Army and PLA of China.
Lt Gen Singh refused to be drawn into the post-election scenario in Pakistan, where Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party was emerging as the single largest party, saying it should be left to the authorities and people of Pakistan on how they handle the challenges inside their country.
“But with regard to the challenges to Indian Army along the LoC, I want to tell you that Indian Army is prepared for any contingency. Any kind of movement, any kind of misadventure which our adversary tries to undertake, they will be given a befitting reply as always. So, be very very sure that the Army is fully trained, we are equipped and motivated and always prepared to take on any contingency,” he said.
Referring to the post-Kargil war political developments in Pakistan, the Army Commander said they “did not affect our preparations”.
In the last 19 years, as far as the modernization of the armed forces is concerned, it is going on in a big way, he said.
“We have been able to identify certain areas where we required additional focus — whether it in the form of infrastructure development close to the LoC or even on the LAC  or improvement of night vision capability, surveillance capability, night fighting capability. There is a substantial improvement that has taken place in so far as ops preparedness of the armed forces is concerned,” he said.